The Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. was completed in 2007 and is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Architecture firm, Foster and Partners and landscape designer Kathryn Gustafson of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd teamed up to enclose the courtyard of this Greek Revival building. The courtyard, which is a cafe during museum hours is located at the center of the structure. The space is truly breathtaking and brings new meaning to bringing the outside in. The glass canopy, the only design element that gives away the illusion of an outdoor courtyard is surprisingly simple, composed of double paned glass set in to a steel grid. The undulating form of the design makes the structure appear to float. And columns are placed along the perimeter to support the load without affecting the existing structure. The courtyard was enclosed in order to enable the space to be used year round. The glass canopy is a successful solution, preserving openness of the space while allowing light in during the day. And now the courtyard can be transformed at night for special events and performances.
The Courtyard Cafè is an inspiring space to work and offers public wireless Internet access. For hours and information, go to the National Portrait Gallery website. The gallery is located at located at Eighth and F Streets, NW, D.C.